Steamboat Springs Rebecca Duryea, a mother of four daughters, knows how hard it can be to talk to your children about certain issues.
On Saturday, she will attend her third Mother Daughter Day with her daughter Amaris, and the two will hear professionals address some of those difficult subjects in a nonthreatening way.
Caroline Lalive, an Olympic skier who attended high school in Steamboat Springs, is the opening speaker. She'll be followed by Dot Haberlan, a nurse for the public school system, who will talk about changing bodies.
"That is the hardest part of the morning," said Jen Fritz, the event coordinator for Mother Daughter Day. "I was so pissed off when I got the puberty talk, but this is less interactive."
The mothers and daughters will then split up into two different rooms, where they will talk to a panel of experts about their concerns regarding the middle school transition.
The mothers' panel includes Jan Fritz, a mother of three daughters she raised in Steamboat; Diane Stoyko, one of the founders of the event; Karen Massey, a nutritionist; and Kim Boyce from the Visiting Nurse Association.
In the other room, the girls can ask sixth-, seventh- and eight-grade students questions about life in middle school. The middle schoolers will be overseen by Margi Briggs-Casson, guidance counselor at Steamboat Springs Middle School.
"There are a lot of questions about their lockers, dances, friends and teachers," Jen Fritz said. "It's so cute because they ask the same questions every year."
At the end of the morning both the mothers and the daughters get a chance to write a letter to one another. They are asked to identify three things they like about each other and three things they would like to do together.
Fritz sends the letters to both parties six months later.
"I think that's a neat thing to do," Duryea said. "Then we can sit down and say, 'Hey, we did that,' or 'We should work on that.'"
The goal of the day is to strengthen the bond between mothers and daughters before they venture into middle school.
"It's special for me to do it with my mom, and I remember how vivid it was in my memory to go to middle school," Fritz said. "I didn't have any older brothers or sisters and I just wanted to ask some questions anonymously."
The event also brings together all the girls from both Steamboat elementary schools so they can meet other kids they will attend middle school with.
For Duryea, the morning gives her a chance to spend some quality time with one of her four daughters.
"I don't get that much time one-on-one with them," she said. "I think it's a great bonding time and every mother and daughter can get something out of it."
To register for the free event, e-mail Fritz at firstname.lastname@example.org.